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In defense of Jay Cutler, sort of, after up-and-down game

The easiest thing in the world is to jump on Jay Cutler. Trust me, it’s how I get my exercise.

He threw an interception at the worst time Sunday against the Packers, and the criticism flooded in immediately. The theme was “same old Jay,’’ and, of course, there was no arguing with it. A bad interception is as part of him as any of his limbs are. The Bears could have won the game if Cutler hadn’t throw that pick.

But I actually thought he played fairly well in the season opener. Can you say that after a quarterback tosses a game-changing pass to the other team? We can debate the question forever, and Cutler probably will never get the benefit of the doubt in these situations. But he played the prudent game that the new coaching staff wanted him to play, the way the ghost of coaching staffs past wanted him to play.

For most of Sunday, he was controlled and in control, throwing low-risk passes and handing off the ball to Matt Forte. He also ran to escape the Packers’ pressure, picking up 31 yards on four carries. Things to build on, as coach John Fox said after the game.

And therein lies the problem with Cutler: He has never shown the ability to build on anything. The next game is always a fresh slate, a new adventure, a chance for more head-shaking decisions. So next week against the Cardinals? Two interceptions and two fumbles? Would anybody be surprised?

There I go, jumping on him again, getting my cardio in for the day. But if anyone could ever figure out a way to stop his synapses from firing in moments when the game is on the line and Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is in the vicinity, that would be swell.

And there I go again, falling for the Cutler tease: If only this and if only that. Let’s just say he had a decent game and leave it at that. Your sanity will thank you.